Tuberous Begonia Care - Our Best Advice For Growing Healthy Plants -

Tuberous Begonia Care – Our Best Advice For Growing Healthy Plants

tuberous begonia care

Growth: 6-10 Inches Height
Light: Partial Sun
Planting Zones: 9-11 As A Perennial, An Annual In All Other Zones

One variety of begonia, the tuberous begonia, is a very attractive plant - maybe one of the most attractive out of all the begonia varieties. This is because of the flowers, are beautiful, big and bright - so much so that they almost "glow" in their different colors.  However,  correct tuberous begonia care is essential to get these results.

This is especially noticable when you visit your local nursery or garden center and the flowers just absolutely pop out among everything else surrounding them.

We noticed this the first time we viewed them many years ago and since planting them for our clients, they tend to agree and want them planted every year. We are happy to oblige.

Let's get into the characteristics of these wonderful plants.

What Is A Tuberous Begonia

A tuberous plant is one that grows from "tubers" unlike others that grow from seeds or rhizome roots. Think of tubers like bulbs. They are similar to a bulb that stores water and nutrients during plant dormancy so they can come back every year.

This means like bulbs, they are actually a perennial - but only in the warmest climates. Unlike bulbs which overwinter in the ground, the tubers will not survive the winter.

Ask The Pros Landscape Consulting – Answering Your Urgent Questions

Begonias in general, which includes this one, are tropical plants that do not like the cold. One way to overcome this fact and bring them back every year requires a little work. Proper tuberous begonia care says you should dig them up, bring in during the winter, and replant them outside the following year.

With good reason, most people don't do this. No doubt, it's an extra chore that many would prefer to not do. They would prefer to consider them annuals. In fact, if you ask anyone if a tuberous begonia is an annual or perennial,  most would say it's an annual.

If you're wondering how to tell the difference between this variety and others, it's easy. One way you can tell the difference is noting the bulging soil near the base, which is the actual tuber underground. Of course you can also tell by the bloom, which is a large cluster of flower peddles which come together for big, bodacious blooms.

Colors Available - There's No Wrong Choice

tuberous begonia yellow blooms

The blooms of colors available are one of the plant's best features. They come in deep reds, dark pinks, light pinks, peach, white and bright yellow as the image above shows.

To us the blooms actually resember roses, don't you think?  The image above shows you exactly how showy the flowers are.

If you like a garden with a wide variety of colors, but still like a grouping of one type of plant, consider turberous begonias. One of our clients plants her entire garden with these plants and absolutely loves the variety of color, exploding like fireworks from her gardens.

Light Requirements For Healthy Growth

Like many other begonias, the tuberous variety prefers a partial shade location. This means some full sun is OK, as long as it's the morning or late afternoon and not at the hottest part of the day. Filtered, bright shade would also work but deep shade in a wooded garden would not.

These plants will not do well in full sun for the entire day so finding a suitable location might be a challenge. After all, you're not going to time the amount of full sun that falls on your garden. You'll need to estimate that and may need to try them in different locations before you find one that works well.

Because of this, we've had a few challenges with these plants, but once they were solved, it's been pure pleasure seeing them in all their glory.

Once you find that perfect location, you'll be rewarded handsomely.

Watering And Other Tips For Tuberous Begonia Care

Like other begonias, this variety likes moist, well drained soil. This means that if you're getting lots of rain, which by default also means the sun has not shown in days, they might not do so well. I know for us over the last few years, the weather has been cloudy and rained alot and, consequently, our begonias didn't do well.

Too much water will rot the stems and they will fall off, so if you see your plants experiencing this issue, too much water, either from rain or your own garden hose is probably the cause.

On the other hand, too little water will not be ideal either. If the soil dries out, especially for more than a day, the plants will start to feel the stress. Stick your finger in the top inch of soil and if you find it is dry to the touch, it might be time to water them.

These facts alone may make it seem the plant is very finicky but we find that not to be the case. They can stand a little drying out which is better than too much water and usually they do fine.

Because they are small plants, they don't need to be trimmed at all to stay small or deadheaded to bloom for the entire year. This is great news if you like your gardens to be as low maintenance as possible. The only thing that may be an issue is water, too much or not enough - but isn't that the case will most plants?

One disadvantage is that the stems are quite weak and can break off easily.  This might happen when either carrying the plant from the store to your car, or while you're planting it. The good news is this will not destroy the plant. It will produce more stems and more blooms over time. It just won't be as colorful until that happens.

How To Overwinter Indoors

One of our clients likes these plants enough to have expressed an interest in overwintering them inside her home.  In fact, we've seen people online asking this question often.

Overwintering tuberous begonias is not a sure thing.

If you want to try, you'll need to dig up the tuber, leave it sit out inside your house until it's completely dry, then store it in a cool, dark, dry place in your home over the winter. Then, in spring, once the weather turns warm, you can replant it in the ground. If you plant it in early to mid-spring, you may have blooms in June through the remainder of the season.

Trying to get the plant to bloom indoors all winter could be a challenge. Even if you "think" your window is getting enough light to the plant, chances are it is not. In addition, these plants also like warmer temperatures and higher humidity than is generally found in homes.

However, if you really want to try to overwinter these plants while trying to get them to bloom, then go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained we say.

Our Final Rating For The Care Of Tuberous Begonias

Although a little more finicke than bedding (wax) begonias, tuberous begonias provide better and bigger flowers by a long shot.  They require very litte care for a very big show.

We highly recommend these unique and beautiful plant to add a lot of color to your gardens.

Finally, turberous begonias aren't the only variety of begonia you can plant in your gardens.  We've outlined the other varieties that are the most common and easy for beginning gardeners to grow in this article here.

Check out our plant guide for some other plant ideas that would make excellent specimens in your gardens.

Happy gardening!

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1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Sly
    April 3, 2021

    I live in Atlanta GA area (zone 7) and would like to lift the bulbs for over wintering them. I live in an apartment and will have the begonias in a basket which can be stored dirt, bulbs and all, inside but somehow this does not seem practical. Some tips on how to store these bulbs will be helpful. Thank you


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